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Berlin Airlift

Published 1949

The Western powers airlift of supplies to Berlin during the Soviet Blockade of Berlin. Operation Plain Fare . The Berlin blockade. Post Second World War. Germany. Soviet Iron Curtain.. Deutschmark. 24 June 1948. airbridge . Rosinenbomber, or 'raisin bombers'), 2 million West Berliners with food, fuel and other supplies. At its height one plane reached West Berlin every 30 seconds.

The Airlift officially ended on 30 September 1949, fifteen months after its protracted beginnings in June 1948.
Operation Plain Fare . The Berlin blockade. Sunderland Flying Boat

Run time 10 Minutes 13 Seconds
Production Company British Control Commission for Germany
Sponsor Central Office of Information for Air Ministry
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English


Public Information Films


Reviewer: uniQ - - May 12, 2011
Subject: "The Airlift carries on!"
Rousing "information" film produced by the Royal (British) Air Force lauding its work (parenthetical mention of the USAF is given) in the Berlin Airlift. Surprizingly, this film has essentially no Cold War Commie-bashing.

Listen for the airmen singing "I've Got Sixpence", and the single spoken line in the entire piece: "You are cleear to take off...".

Oh and it was "passed" by the British Board of Film Censors.
Reviewer: Nikonwilly - - January 24, 2010
Subject: History
When the blockade first started the U.S. under U.S. Military Governor, Lucius Clay wanted to force the issue and use ground troops to break the blockade, but British Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin proposed the air lift. Berlin needed 2000 tons of necessities every day to run, Clay assigned Major General Curtis E. LeMay to attempt it. The U.S. had only 100 Douglas C-47 ( Gooney Birds) available which was barely enough to supply the U.S. military personal in Germany, but LeMay managed to lift twice the needed amount on a test run and the operation was on. LeMay requested through Clay and the pentagon 300 Douglas C-54 skymasters which could handle 4 times what the c-47's could , they arrived soon afterwards.
The mission was originally called, " LeMay's coal and food delivery" , but was renamed by the Americans, " Operation Vittles" and by the British, "operation Plaindafe" .
When this was accomplished they together hauled 2.3million tons with 277,685 flights.
The 3 major Americans involved were, Major general Curtis E. LeMay, Brigadier General Joseph Smith and Major General William H. Tunner (willy the whip) The single greatest day was, Easter Sunday 17 april 1949 ,13000 tons including the equivalent of 600 railroad cars of coal were delivered. 75% of all materials were flown in U.S. aircraft. 30 American servicemen and 1 civilian lost their lives in 12 crashes.
Reviewer: larkrise - - November 23, 2009
Subject: That's Air Commodore R.N.Waite (Rex Waite)
A great archive. If it is repetitive that is how it felt to the airmen and ground crews. This film was made before the short Sunderlands were taken off the airlift due to winter weather conditions. At minute 01.21 you see an air commodore sitting at a desk using the telephone. That is Air Commodore R.N.Waite, also known as Rex Waite. Later at 07.33 he is seen on the tarmac walking next to Lord Tedder. He has a walking stick as he suffered from lumbago. He had been with the Control Commision for Berlin as the senior air officer and when the blockade was imminent he put forward a logistical plan for supplying the garrissons and the civilian population of Berlin (2.2 million) by air. At first General Robertson, the British Governor, was skeptical but a day later he presented the plan to General Clay, the U S Governor. If the plan was to work the Allies needed more planes and the Americans had them. Clay was persuaded. Air Commodore Waite was moved to the British Military Head Quarters to run the British contribution to the airlift.In a letter to another RAF officer he comments "I have a sort of roving commission, which involves everything from the daily demanding, recording and forecasting of supplies for the city to co-ordination of the Military Government Troops and Civil organisations in the complete rearrangement of life for seige conditions".
Reviewer: djinbee - - October 19, 2009
Subject: What a fantastic effort to help western berliners. And for the Jewish people, few years before ?
It is effectiveley a fantastic effort done by American and English forces to help the population from West Berlin from the russian blocus. But I wonder, why this force and organization hasn't been used few years before to finish with the concentration camps in Germany ?
Reviewer: Spuzz - - August 16, 2008
Fun movie, but yes, slightly repetitive, of the allied effort to make the Russians (and the East Germans) jealous bexause the Aliies were totally walking over the road blockades to West Germany and airlifting cargo to them. Everything went! Grain! Cars! Mail! Back and Forth! Back and Forth! Back and... Well you get the idea. This slightly wears out it's welcome, but it's interesting and informative, so I cant complain too much..
Reviewer: Divetheworld - - May 19, 2007
Subject: Excellent
This is an excellent program. Fantastic footage of some quite plucky airmen flying the Sunderlands.
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